At 48 I’ve spent over half of my life working in some sort of social justice movement: Voter Registration, Free South Africa, Stop Nuclear Testing, National Health Care Reform, elections of candidates that I believed would help bring about change if elected. They have all been altruistic assignments I believed given to me by God. Doors were opened and I walked enthusiastically through them. But they were all jobs. I felt good about my choice of career. I was helping to make a difference and getting paid all at the same time. I was climbing a ladder headed straight to the White House, as a staffer, that is.
Ministry is different from a job/career path. You don’t choose it, God chooses you. You just can't walk away. It becomes your life and flows through your blood and helps to fuel your heart. It is all that you are. Yes, having AIDS has been the catalyst for my ministry, but my ministry is so much more. It’s the thing that gets me through the door. What I do once on the inside is about lifting hearts and minds of God’s people.
I've had friends say to me rhetorically, “You still speaking about AIDS?' Like, girl when you gonna move on to the next thing? Also, underlined in that question is, “Girl, when you gonna get a real job?” And some days, believe me, I want a real job. Especially when the speaking engagements are few and far between and I’m trying to decide if I should pay my light bill or buy groceries. There are days I doubt God and have this urge to re-do my resume.
Then something happens, I get a speaking request from out of nowhere and in that moment I’m reminded that God has work for me do it. Lately, the speaking engagements have not been my big paying honorarium gigs. But the ones after they tell me they can’t really pay me, I say, “ Just sow a seed into my life because this is my only source of income.” The other day, I even asked God, “Umm how many more of these do I have to say yes to in order to get one with a real honorarium. Huh God?” I mean, come on, it would be nice to not have over half my bills over due all the time.
Dress for Success and God uses me to bless the women and then turns around and ministers to me. I told the women that their life was not their own, it belongs to God. In that moment I was reminded of my own ministry and purpose. It does not matter whether you are preaching in what feels like the wilderness just like John the Baptist, what matters is that you are preaching. Doing what you are called to do.
There are people who do AIDS work and that is what it is. They can walk away any day because it is work. Their focus is on building a brand and a name for themselves. But I understand whether I get paid or not, whether I’m in a magazine or not, that what I do flows from my blood to my heart. Even when I want to walk away, I can’t.
Now I’m coming to some acceptance about it all, it is what it is... It is what God has for me. And I must believe that God’s plan is constant in my life whether it feels like it or not. There’s certain contentment that comes which this acceptance. And like the Apostle Paul, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... whether in plenty and in want, I can do all things through Him that gives me strength. Phil 4:12-13